Afib & Stroke: Heart Devices

Stroke Risk with Afib

If you have afib, you're more susceptible to blood clots and five times more likely to have a stroke than people without it.

Medications to address your stroke risk with afib don't always work. At UVA, we have alternative solutions for afib patients: implantable, surgical devices. 

Clinical studies show that 90 percent of blood clots form in the left atrial appendage (LAA), the left part of the heart. All of the devices we offer obstruct the LAA, a procedure proven to reduce blood clots and lower stroke risk.

Heart Devices for Afib

Lariat

In 2014, UVA became the first medical center in Central Virginia to offer the Lariat procedure. 

During this procedure, your doctor places a catheter in the left atrium and another in the pericardial sack, accessed via a puncture under the sternum. We then thread magnetic guide wires into position to facilitate the placement of a braided polyester suture loop. Once placed over the LAA, we close the loop and remove the wires.

The procedure lasts about two hours and requires one overnight stay. You receive care from a team of specialists, including:

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Echocardiologists
  • Electrophysiologists
  • Surgeons

AtriClip

The AtriClip is gentler than some devices, with a low risk of tearing or future bleeding. A surgeon can implant this device with open surgery or with a minimally invasive procedure. 

Typically, recovery lasts no longer than two days.  

Watchman

Recently FDA approved, the Watchman differs from the Lariat and AtriClip in that it is not an external device; instead, we insert it inside the heart. A catheter-based procedure, it involves accessing the left atrium through the femoral vein.

The procedure lasts approximately two hours and requires an overnight stay. You will need to take blood thinners for up to 45 days afterwards. 

The Benefits of Watchman

This minimally invasive technique limits the risk for infection, decreases blood loss and shortens recovery time. 

UVA participates in the PREVAIL continued-access protocol study, a registry that examines the safety of the implant procedure for the Watchman device.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

Call 434.243.1000

Make an Appointment

Call us at 434.243.1000

or make an appointment online.

Stroke Risk & Reduction

Patients with afib are at an increased risk of stroke. Find out more about stroke causes, risk factors and more at UVA's Stroke Center